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Coast Employment Law
Serving Employees and Employers in Southern California 714-551-9930 Free Confidential Consultation

Orange County Religious Discrimination Lawyer

The Orange County workplace discrimination lawyers at Coast Employment Law have extensive experience serving clients across Southern California who have claims of religious discrimination at work. Religious discrimination can take many forms, including inappropriate or disparaging comments, adverse employment action based on an employee’s religion, forced participation in practices contrary to an employee’s religion, or refusal to reasonably accommodate a worker’s religious practices and beliefs. California state and federal laws protect workers against religious discrimination in the workplace, whatever form that discrimination takes.

If you are a California employee who has experienced discrimination in the workplace as a result of your religious background, views, or practices, or if you are a California employer dealing with allegations of religious discrimination, reach out to a seasoned, effective, and fair-minded Orange County discrimination attorney as soon as possible for advice and representation.

Religious Discrimination is Prohibited Under State and Federal Law

California workers have rights guaranteed under both state and federal law. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on religion. Title VII applies to any employer with 15 or more employees.

In California, workers are also protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA is generally more expansive than Title VII. For example, unlike Title VII, FEHA does not include a cap on damages. California also employs the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012, which works to clarify and expand the definition of “religion” for the sake of workplace discrimination. The 2012 act makes clear that the religious discrimination laws apply to “religion,” “religious creed,” “religious belief,” and “religious observance” of all California employees, so long as the religious views are sincerely-held beliefs. Whether under federal or state law, claims of religious discrimination turn on the beliefs of the employee and the sincerity of those beliefs, not what others of the worker’s general faith might believe.

Under both federal and state law, employers must not discriminate or take any adverse employment action against an employee based on their religion or their religious attire. Employers cannot refuse to hire, refuse to promote, demote, limit or reduce compensation such as bonuses or salary, sanction, or fire an employee based on their religion. Employers cannot tolerate acts of discrimination in the workplace such as disparaging comments or supervisors intentionally separating or isolating an employee due to their religion. Employers must also offer “reasonable accommodation” for the worker’s religious practices, as long as accommodation would not cause undue hardship for the employer.

Reasonable Accommodation

California employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for the religious practices of their employees according to state and federal law. Reasonable accommodation varies depending on the workplace, the employee, and the religion, but it generally requires that employers work to permit employees to hold to their religious beliefs so long as doing so does not unreasonably disrupt the workplace, the individual employee’s ability to perform their job or the ability of other employees to do so. In California, reasonable accommodation means working to eliminate any conflict between a job duty and the religion of the employee.

For example, employers should make exceptions to company appearance standards to allow religious clothing such as headwear. Employers should make efforts to work around religious holidays, allow for workers to eat meals in accordance with their views and practices, and generally avoid conflict between a worker’s beliefs and their ability to work. This may mean excusing a worker from certain job duties they would otherwise be required to perform, or allowing employees to, for example, work only on days other than the Sabbath. There are limits to what accommodation is “reasonable”–employers would not be required, for example, to continue paying an employee who claims their religion prohibits them from working at all.

Get Help From an Orange County Religious Discrimination Lawyer

If you or anyone you know needs legal help to fight against religious discrimination in the workplace in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties, or anywhere in California, contact Coast Employment Law at 714-551-9930, or complete the contact form on this website to schedule a free consultation.

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